Shona Phrases

The Shona phrases are helpful because they are used daily. Below we picked expressions that a new learner will find useful. We included the audio as well. This is a better way to learning. Learn only what you need. We start with greetings and introduction.

Hi: hesi
What is your name?: zita rako ndiani?
Nice to meet you: ndafara kukuona
How are you?: wakadini?
I'm good, thanks: ndakasimba, waita hako
And you?: ko iwe?

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More questions about language and age:

Do you speak (English/Shona)?: unotaura (chirungu/ chishona) here?
Does she speak Chinese?: anotaura chichinese here?
A little bit: zvishoma
How old are you?: une makore mangani?
I'm 33 years old: ndine makore makumi matatu nematatu
It was nice talking to you: ndafara kutaura newe

If you don't understand something, this will be your secret weapon:

What do you mean?: uri kurevei?
I don't understand: handisi kunzwisisa
I don't know: handizivi
Sorry: ndine urombo
What is that called in Shona?: icho chinonzii muchishona?
What does that word mean in English?: shoko iro rinorevei muchirungu?

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More personal information about origins and profession:

Where are you from?: unobva kupi?
I'm from the U.S: ndinobva kuu.s
I'm American: ndiri wokuamerica
Where do you live?: unogara kupi?
I live in the U.S: ndinogara muu.s
What do you do for a living?: unoitei chinokuraramisa?
I'm a student: ndiri mudzidzi

Offering or asking for help and giving directions:

Can I help you?: ndingakubatsira here?
Can you help me?: ungandibatsirawo here?
Where is the airport?: nhandare yendege iri kupi?
Go straight: ramba wakananga mberi
Then: uye
Turn left: kona kuruboshwe
Turn right: kona kurudyi


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Good wishes in Shona in holidays and occasions:

Happy birthday: makorokoto ezuva rokuzvarwa
Happy new year: makorokoto egore idzva
Merry Christmas: ivai nekisimusi inofadza
Good luck: tinokushuvirai zvakanaka
Congratulations: makorokoto

Shona expressions commonly used when traveling or buying:

I have a reservation: ndabhuka
Do you have rooms available?: mune dzimba dzisina vanhu here?
I would like a non-smoking room: ndinoda imba musingaputwi fodya
How much it costs per night?: imarii usiku humwechete?
Waiter: hweta
How much is this?: ichi imarii?
What is this?: ichi chii?

Survival phrases considered to be important in emergencies:

Are you okay?: hauna kukuvara here?
I need a doctor: ndiri kuda chiremba
Help: rubatsiro
Call the ambulance: daidza amburenzi
Call the police: daidza mapurisa
I am sick: ndiri kurwara

These Shona phrases can be used in a variety of conversations. If you have already visited our Shona Vocabulary and Shona Grammar, you might want to visit our Shona Flashcards to practice what you learned.

Shona Vocabulary

Shona Grammar


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Did you know? Phrases are the combination of the use of vocabulary and grammar. Mastering the vocabulary and grammar can result in the ability to make useful Shona phrases.